Disappointing market for sheep and beef farmers
Federated Farmers says it has been a difficult summer for sheep and beef farmers who face falling meat plant prices.
Manawatu/Rangitikei Meat and Fibre chairman Richard Morrison said it had been disappointing and disheartening that lamb and ewe prices had fallen so suddenly and the shine had come off beef prices.
Summer was the time of the year when lambs and ewes went to the meat plants and many cattle were ready for slaughter.
Morrison said farmers were sending stock to plants to cope with the summer dry at a time when prices were falling fast.
Usually, prices fell as the season progressed when more stock were delivered to meat works.
"It is disappointing that the price has fallen so much, and so fast. This is the lowest lamb crop nationally that we have had for years. There are fewer lambs, but farmers grow them to heavier weights.
"An average lamb that was $110 is now $90 and beef which had been at record prices has come back a bit."
He said he thought the predicted El Nino weather pattern would have little impact on farmers in Rangitikei and Manawatu, but farmers on the east coast of the island were expecting the worst of dry conditions.
Morrison said many ewes and lambs from Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa had come to meat plants early, as farmers de-stocked to cope with El Nino.
He said beef had come off record prices.
"There are lots of little things that have contributed. The United States has filled its quota, there is lower international demand. And many cull cows have come forward as dairy farmers get rid of stock."
Morrison said he expected prices to remain low for the first few months of next year, then lift in March as the autumn and winter hit. .